The Caribbean Tourism Office recently released its Caribbean Tourism Performance Report 2017 and Outlook, showing that the number of stay-over or tourist visits to the region reached 30 million in 2017 and bringing an estimated $37 billion in total visitor spending.
Ryan Skeete, director of research and IT at the organisation, presented the findings February 15, 2018, at CTO Headquarters, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados.
In the wake of the recent hurricane devastation suffered by the Caribbean, Grenada is supporting calls made by Barbados for a new vulnerability index to determine the region’s eligibility for concessional aid.
Immediately following the passage of Hurricane Maria last month, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had appealed directly to the international community for such support, saying “we are vulnerable countries in this region, and assessing us on the basis of how our economies are doing at any particular time is misleading because all of our gains can be wiped out in a few hours by a serious hurricane as is now the case with Dominica; as was the case some years ago with Grenada, Jamaica and others.
“Therefore, when we talk about vulnerability and the use of a vulnerability index to determine our eligibility for concessional aid, that is what we are talking about and Hurricane Maria makes the point more eloquently than any of us could have made it,” he said at the time.
In echoing pretty much the same sentiment last night, Grenada’s minister of tourism Clarice Modeste-Curwen told the opening of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference at the Grenada Radisson Hotel that the recent spate of superstorms – including Irma, which wreaked havoc on Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and St Martin -– was proof enough that the threat of global warming is real.
In any assessment of the performance of the regional integration movement, the positive elements must be considered. And integration must never be measured solely on trade as there was much more that was happening in other spheres such as in functional cooperation and in crime and security, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Monday at the CARICOM Secretariat.
He was at the time responding to questions at a press conference that preceded the Twenty-Eighth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM which will be held Thursday and Friday at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency David Granger, President of Guyana.
The Secretary-General said that integration was working even though there was always room for improvement.
“Can you imagine if there were no CARICOM? Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives… like CXC… that’s CARICOM at work. The fact that more than ninety-nine per cent of our goods is traded freely within our Region – that’s CARICOM at work. The fact that we can have a concerted effort at talking about correspondent banking,…can you imagine if Guyana went alone or Saint Lucia went alone to talk …about correspondent banking? The fact that we have been able to successfully addressing the issue HIV/AIDS collectively; the fact that we have become the first region in the world to eliminate measles and the fact that we have a Community response at the time of disaster… The fact that we are able to present our concerns on climate change collectively.
“There always is room for improvement… By and large, I am satisfied. There are some frustrations that we hear of and we experience in terms of the pace. But as one Prime Minister always says: we are not going to a point; we are on a journey. Development, as is integration is a journey and once your journey is going in the right direction and you are always improving on what you have and building a sense of Community which I think we really do have, I think we are on the right track; we are going in the right direction. We are carrying everybody with us; no one is being left behind We are building a sense of community and carrying everyone with us. Despite what you may hear … (integration) is working,” the Secretary-General said.
We hope you will find these details helpful. We implore you not to panic,” the tourism organisations said.
The spread of the Zika virus in the Americas, with Brazil as the epicentre, and the possible though not yet proven accompanying link to microcephaly has, understandably, caused concern. The Level 2 alert issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created doubt among some potential travellers to the Caribbean as to whether or not their health is at risk and whether or not they should continue with their travel plans.
About the Caribbean Tourism Organization
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.